"I consider myself a well-educated young lady," she began, as poised as someone three times her age.
Sydney Smoot, a 9-year-old fourth-grader in Hernando County, Florida, delivered a powerful speech last month to her school board in opposition to the troubled Florida Standards Assessment testing.
Her speech left the audience applauding.
"Ladies and gentlemen of the school board, I urge you to put a stop to high-stakes testing today!" Sydney declared, giving an impassioned solo delivery of the speech her mother helped her write.
Florida's testing regime isn't Common Core — Florida ditched the standards last year — though the Washington Post noted that Florida's replacement testing standards are "remarkably similar" to Common Core.
Noting that the tests come wrapped in a weird veil of secrecy — students are asked to sign a form saying they won't discuss the test with their parents, and grades are only delivered after the end of the school year — Sydney told the school board, "I have the right to talk to my parents about any and everything related to school and my education."
She also noted that the high-stakes testing was limiting real learning and cutting into a much-needed activity: recess.
Watch Sydney's whole speech below:
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